Community Shelter - Westonbirt Arboretum

local oak community built shelter

Project Year


Xylotek Role

Technical Design, Geometry Definition, Fabrication, Installation

Project Team

Architect: Invisble Studio // Structural Engineer: Format

Photo Credits

Photos by project team, Martin Phelps and Forestry England


Westonbirt Arboretum Community Coppice Shelter

Xylotek delivered an oak lath gridshell of arrayed arches with ad-hoc bracing on-site at Westonbirt Arboretum.

From winter 2021 to spring 2022, we collaborated with architect Piers Taylor (Invisible Studio) and Format Engineers to create a community activity shelter, a permanent home for Westonbirt's Community Programme, made from timber grown and milled on-site.

Our design team worked closely with Format Engineers on the technical design development of the shelter. It defined the geometric timber elements combined to create the organically shaped shelter.

The site pictures show the plywood jigs used to enable the steam-bending process. Once steamed, the pliable oak laths were shaped over the jig and clamped in place to cool. These members formed the gridshell lattice components to enable the construction of the roof.

The community groups and volunteers were working with the carpenters at the Westonbirt Community Shelter site to build the structure. The additional internal bracing reinforced the structure so the shingles could be attached to the external trusses. Reclaimed aluminium sheets cover the apex of the curved roof and the edge of the
The community groups will also be able to use the open fire pit within the structure. The space evokes a sense of togetherness which has carried throughout the whole process - it was a privilege to be a part of this beautiful project.

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